Team Records: Portland (2-1) at Dallas (2-1)
Game Info: 5:30 p.m., TV on CSNNW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.
Vegas Line: Dallas -5.
Refs: Joe Crawford, Kane Fitzgerald, Marat Kogut.
The Skinny: The Blazers look to build off an impressive OT victory Saturday in Houston as they hope to secure a 2-1 road trip. The Mavericks come into this game fresh off a rout of Charlotte in their home opener Saturday after splitting their opening pair of games on the road vs. the Lakers and the Jazz. The Mavericks are very much a team in transition, and are without their best player, Dirk, for the next several weeks following right knee surgery.
Last season: Dallas won the season series 2-1, winning the only game in Portland and splitting the two games in Dallas.
Projected Mavericks Lineup:
PF: Elton Brand (Duke, 14th season) – 5 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.3 APG
SF: Shawn Marion (UNLV, 14th season) – 8 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 3.3 APG
C: Chris Kaman (Central Michigan, 10th season) – 16 PPG, 4 RPG, 2 APG
SG: OJ Mayo (USC, 5th season) – 18 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3 APG
PG: Darren Collison (UCLA, 4th season) – 17.3 PPG, 3 RPG, 7 APG
Player to Watch: OJ Mayo (pictured at right) – There was a time when OJ Mayo was widely regarded as one of the top young players in the NBA. He had a good rookie season, displaying his solid outside stroke and excellent ability to score off of picks. Yet, while for most players, they tend to improve the more experience they get, Mayo has flatlined. His strengths have not improved and his weaknesses are more apparent. Mayo is too short to be a true SG but too slow to be an effective PG and as a result has trouble guarding either position. Long-term he probably has his best chance as a bench scorer but with Dallas likely entering rebuild mode soon, he will have to do as a starter for now.
Did You Know?: Dallas has made at least one three pointer in 1,089 straight games, the longest active streak in the NBA. They last failed to make a 3 at Utah on 2/26/1999.
Song of the Day: “Ghost Riders in the Sky” the Johnny Cash version-For two reasons, you can never get enough Johnny Cash and it talks about one of Texas’s favorite subjects, cowboys Enjoy:
Portland: Out – SG Elliott Williams (Achillies)
Dallas: Out – PF Dirk Nowitzki (Knee), Questionable – PG Rodrigue Beaubois (Ankle).
Portland fans might see echoes of the team’s new offense in Dallas’s and they well should. Coach Terry Stotts, after all, came from Dallas and brought to Portland the Mavs’s signature style of jump shots combined with constant ball motion on offense. The difference is Dallas can play defense too, and play it damn well. The Mavs have plenty of solid interior defenders and are a decent rebounding team. They are well coached and, much like playing the Spurs, there is often little drop off between the first and second unit, at least in focus. After all, this is a team that in their opening game, beat the Lakers playing Brandan Wright and Eddy Curry heavy minutes. They aren’t what they once were, but they are still a tough team to beat.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They limit Dallas’s 3 point shooting. The Mavs live and die by the jump shot. Make them attack you inside and they become far less effective. If Portland can do so, they should win.
Dallas wins if: They hold Portland under 90 points. The Mavs aren’t the strongest offensive team in the world. They can’t win if Portland tops 100, but they almost certainly should if they can hold the Blazers under 90.